Ian Robertson and his five-year-old son had walked less than 50 metres along Tayport beach when they saw something floating among the seaweed, not far from the water’s edge.
It looked odd and out of place, like an outsized plastic doll.
Ian waded out into the cold North Sea waters and made a heartbreaking discovery.
It was the body of a young boy, aged between two and four, wearing only a pyjama top with a shirt over it.
It looked like the body had been in the water for some time and it had started to decompose. The features on the child’s face had been rubbed away from being dragged over rocks.
Ian, who was the village postman, knew it was not unheard of for bodies to wash up on the shores of the Firth of Tay.
Perhaps the boy had come from the sea having fallen off a boat or been washed down after falling in upriver?
But no-one ever reported the child missing and the mystery of who he was attracted worldwide press coverage.
It would take more than 50 years for vital clues to the identity of the “unknown bairn” to finally be revealed.